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Meet The Unlikely Character At The Center Of The North Texas Earthquake Debate

Doualy Xaykaothao
Lynda Stokes is the mayor of Reno in Parker County, where more than 30 earthquakes have been recorded since November.

After being rocked by more than 30 earthquakes in the last two months, a busload of North Texans headed to Austin this week. They spoke at a Texas Railroad Commission hearing, urging state officials to shut down two disposal wells, part of the oil and gas drilling business. The Parker County residents suspect those wells are playing a role in the swarm of quakes a half-hour northwest of Fort Worth. One of the group’s leaders, Reno Mayor Linda Stokes, is the subject of this week’s Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights: Linda Stokes on...

...Her sudden public profile as an environmentalist: "I never thought I'd ever be referred to as a person in the news.... I've always been very focused on the environment. My father was a hunter. I come from a farming background. I see the damage that we do to the Earth every day, and I try to keep things as best as I can in my little corner of the world."

...The swarm of earthquakes: "Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I ever believe that here in Reno, Texas, we would actually have earthquakes.... They feel like you're living right next to the freeway and a big truck just came rumbling through your living room."

...One of her neighbors' experiences: "He lives almost across the street from one of the disposal wells, and he said about every fifth truck we seem to have an earthquake. And we had a 3.6, and when we did, it cracked all the commodes in his house."

...How she'd grade the government's response to the quakes: "C+. And I would say that because they are going through the motions. I believe they are interested, but they're not interested enough to take care of the problem."

Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.